San Francisco Bathhouse, 171 Cuba St, Wellington

12/05/2022 - 12/05/2022

Production Details



Wellington is getting all the laughs this May with an outrageous line-up comedy right in the heart of the capital! The Wellington Comedy Club is bringing your comedy faves to San Fran in the windy city throughout May. The Wellington Comedy Club has been the starting point for so many performers – Taika, Flight of the Conchords, and Ben Hurley – who’s going to be next?

Starting on Thursday 5 May with the crackup Tony Lyall MCing the night. Tony is originally from the Marlborough Sounds and has been spotted on The Project, the 2021 Best Foods Comedy Gala, and down the Basin for a spot of cricket. Hot on Tony’s heels in this line-up is Sera Devcich, whose relatable comedy got her a sold-out show at the 2021 Intl Comedy Festival. 2016 Raw Comedy Quest winner and regular on the Wellington comedy scene, Lucy Roche follows Sera in the line-up. Rounding out the night is Rhian Wood-Hill who you might have seen walking 500 miles to a Proclaimers concert to raise money for Lifeline, and Kris Beattie, all the way from Kent, UK, who is wondering if he should quit his day job as an intermediate school teacher to pursue his comedy career.

The second night of iconic comedy is on Thursday 12 May and MCing the line-up is Pax Assadi whose content is making waves across screens with his new Prime TV show, Raised by Refugees. Next up in the line-up is New Yorker Neil Thornton, a regular host at Wellington Pride Festival and Bear New Zealand Week (and we’re not talking about in the wilderness!) Following Neil is Lesa Macleod-Whiting, a regular on Wellington’s comedy circuit and winner of Best Newcomer at 2020 Wellington Comedy Awards. Last, but not least, is 2020 Wellington Raw Comedy Quest finalist Jak Mitchell who mingles comedy with his studies in Theatre, Philosophy, and Gender and Sexuality studies.

The final Thursday in a month full of comedy on 19 May will be MC’ed by one of the leading lights in comedy in Aotearoa and 7 Days regular, Justine Smith who you may recognise as the host of the 2022 Best Foods Comedy Gala. Next up on the line-up is the legendary improv duo Dads on the Town, made up of Greg Ellis and Steven Youngblood whose dad jokes will have you in stitches or rolling your eyes.Finishing the evening is Wellington comedy staple Miranda Camden who’ll be bringing her unapologetic style of comedy, which is a pretty amazing feat for a Canadian.   

“We’re really looking forward to bringing back the Wellington Comedy Club to San Fran. We’ve hosted some great shows over the years, here’s to many more.” –Ziggy Ziya, co-owner of San Fran on returning to live shows.

So kick back, relax, and get ready to laugh your socks off with Wellington Comedy Club’s May line-ups.

San Fran, 171 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Tickets available here 

Thursday 5th May 2022
Tony Lyall MC, Sera Devcich, Lucy Roche, Rhian Wood-Hill, Kris Beattie

Thursday 12th May 2022
Pax Assadi, Neil Thornton, Lesa Macleod-Whiting, Jak Mitchell

Thursday 19th May 2022
Justine Smith, Dads on the Town, Miranda Camden

Theatre , Stand-up comedy ,

More stellar comedy

Review by Wesley Hollis 21st May 2022

The Wellington Comedy Club is back, and as an avid enthusiast of live comedy I am excited to introduce my plus one (who has never been to a comedy show) to what some of New Zealand’s talented performers have to offer. Tonight, those performers are MC Justine Smith, Sarah Courtney, Severin Gourley, Patch Lambert, Miranda Camden and Dads on the Town.

The crowd welcomes MC Justine Smith and she launches straight into her routine, winning us over with some locally focused material and relatable life stories. Some of her funniest moments are throw away comments and asides to her anecdotes, and her ability to push certain moments to the brink of going too far without ever tipping over the edge or losing the support of the audience. At the beginning of the show there is minimal audience interaction, but as the night goes on and the crowd is warmed up she chats to a few people, with excellent off the cuff responses and none of the awkwardness that I sometimes see in crowd work. Her overall performance is confident, expressive, a little bit cheeky, and very entertaining – easily the highlight of the night for me and my friend.

Sarah Courtney is the first feature act. Some of her stories are relatable, while others are dark or bizarre but equally intriguing. At times her presentation is a little awkward but she is able to draw attention to this awkwardness to get a laugh and keep the show moving forward. She discusses what life is like as someone on the autistic spectrum and as somebody on the spectrum myself, I like that she is able to talk frankly about this and incorporate it into her material. The moments that work best are the ones that push the audience out of their comfort zone, eliciting incredulous laughter or a disbelieving groan.

Severin Gourley brings a dry, understated sense of humour with some clever one liners. His slow, measured delivery lends a great impact to everything he says. Much of his material is commentary on his own life, and perhaps his ability to laugh at himself can encourage us as an audience to be more introspective as well. The part I enjoy the most is the glimpse he gives us into what life is like as a comedian, and the reactions he gets from the people in his life. His set is a shorter, quieter one, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Patch Lambert is the third act. Starting off quiet and unassuming, he tells simple stories with a big impact – building up to a crescendo that has the audience in stitches. His tales of growing up speak to all of us about what it was like to be a child – even if his childhood is likely to have been quirkier than most. His delivery and pacing is on point, and he pauses for a laugh at all the right places. An electric performance – hard to fault, and another highlight of the night for sure.

After a quick break, we are back for our fourth act – Miranda Camden. In a relaxed and engaging style, she discusses many of the things that play on our minds in the modern world – such as COVID, sex and dating – and makes us look at them in a way that we never would have considered before. Her material is funny, feminist, at times absurd and often relatable – especially if you have ever been a single woman in your thirties. If you’re looking for a confident performer who knows how to unite an audience with laughter, look no further than Miranda.

Dads on the Town are the last act of the night, featuring Greg Ellis and Matt Powell. Matt has stepped in to cover for regular performer Steven Youngblood, who is unable to attend due to illness. Their act is improvised, based on audience suggestions. This inspires some genius moments but other moments fall flat or don’t seem to work as well. I enjoy the dynamic between Greg and Matt – Matt plays the straight man to Greg’s outrage, and they both do a good job of encouraging improvisations from each other. A significant portion of the act is a rant by Greg, which I think is overly long and doesn’t seem to lead to a coherent point. They win the audience back by making up a brilliant scene at the end which includes off-the-cuff songs and Te Reo content. I would love to see Dads on the Town on a night where they are on top form; they are clearly talented improvisers and their performance is an interesting way to close out the night.

While I think that tonight’s performance is not the strongest I’ve seen, my friend and I leave entertained and eager to see more live comedy in the future. It is a bittersweet moment as the three-week run of shows at San Fran comes to an end, and the question on everyone’s mind is the same – will the Wellington Comedy Club return? I certainly hope so. But until then, the best way to catch more stellar comedy is to keep an eye out on where the talented comedians are performing next.


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“One of the strongest nights of comedy I have ever had the pleasure of viewing”

Review by Wesley Hollis 14th May 2022

After a spectacular opening a week ago, the Wellington Comedy Club returns to Wellington’s San Fran bar on the 12th of May 2022. Having already attended the first show on the previous Thursday, my hopes for another stunning performance this week are high. I recognise several names on the line up, and I am just as excited to see them as I am to be introduced to new talent. This line-up includes MC Pax Assadi, and features Sowmya Hiremath, Orin Ruaine-Prattley, Lesa MacLeod-Whiting, Jak Mitchell and Neil Thornton.

The venue is packed, the bar is open, people grab a drink and get settled before the MC is welcomed on stage with flashing lights and rock and roll music. Pax Assadi greets us with a smile; I have never seen someone so comfortable with warming up a crowd. His banter with the audience flows as he asks a few questions and gets good responses that soon have the crowd feeling familiar not only with him, but with each other.

Pax shares some house rules, explains the best way for an audience to behave so that a comedy gig goes smoothly, and shows us how to take down a heckler (even if the heckle is “You look really lovely.”) Then he launches into some of his material, with some chat about COVID, family life, a little accent work and comments on race relations from the perspective of a New Zealander of colour. Laughter is coming easily, everybody is having a good time. When Pax tells us that we are a fun crowd, I really believe it.

Sowmya Hiremath is welcomed with enthusiastic applause. Sowmya tells of some of the everyday struggles that come with being an immigrant to New Zealand (such as the trouble with shopping at Briscoes) and I find that even as a New Zealand born Pakeha I identify with a lot of the things she says. There are personal stories, some ribbing of white people and an overall tone of outrage that speaks to how we as an audience feel about the frustrations in our own lives. The act starts and finishes strongly, and there are many laughs and even one or two rounds of applause. 

Orin Ruaine-Prattley is next with a quieter, more relaxed style of comedy. There is some good storytelling and worldly observations, though there are moments where I don’t understand where the stories are going. The act seems to drift from topic to topic without much sense of structure, but in a way that works for Orin. With deadpan delivery, the biggest laughs of the set come from well-placed and understated words or comments that have a big impact. At one point, an audience member heckles and he shuts them down in the most delightful way, being completely unphased and quickly moving on with the show.

Lesa MacLeod-Whiting is the last act of the first half, entertaining us an intelligent set that includes social commentary and political comments as well as anecdotes about her personal life. She’s a quick talker – at times I think there are moments that deserve a longer pause so that the impact of what she is saying can sink in before she moves on to another topic. Her performance has a special ability to help us to see the funny side of the bleakness of modern society. Many of the things she says will either have you challenging the way you think or nodding your head in agreement.

After a quick break, Pax eases us back into the show with some more of his top-notch stand up before the second half begins. This part of the show features two great LGBT comics which, as a queer person myself, I am particularly excited to see.

Jak Mitchell is the first one on stage, wowing the audience with his appearance before the act even begins. With a red dress, a white fur stole, a ukulele and a dazzling smile, I know we are in for a treat. Jak tells us about what it’s like to grow up and come out as a queer person, and it is hard to not fall in love with how melodramatic and expressive he is as a performer. While his set is on the shorter side, it is thoroughly entertaining and his ukulele song is one of the highlights of the night, with clever lyrics and many outrageous moments.

Neil Thornton is the show’s last act, and what an energy to end the night on. Neil’s act focuses on what life is like for a gay man in his fifties, and as an American who moved from New York City to Newtown. This act is not for the faint hearted – it is a rollercoaster ride that will have you sitting up in your seat, with anecdotes and worldly observations delivered in a loud and dramatic fashion. Neil is clearly a passionate person with a love for his community and no patience for the idiots of the world. If you like angry gay comedy with some dirty content, then this part of the show is for you. 

Overall, this is one of the strongest nights of comedy I have ever had the pleasure of viewing, easily rivalling the Wellington Comedy Club show from the previous week. I have enjoyed watching some of my favourite New Zealand comics and being introduced to new ones, and I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing what next week’s line up has to offer. If it is anything like tonight’s show, I know you’d be a fool to miss it – so why not grab a ticket. 


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